Tribute paid to Major Shaw
Former Army man dies, aged 78
Major Willie Shaw, who would have been 79 later this month, has died after a short illness.
He was military from the peak of his cap to the sole of his boots, described by his peers as the last of the old school army men.
His loyalty to the Royal Highland Fusiliers had no equal, retiring as Regimental Secretary in 2006 after almost 50 years continuous service.
More than 400 people were at his funeral at Masonhill where all five colour standards of the different veterans’ associations stood together for the first time anywhere.
Major Shaw, who lived in Troon, carried out his basic training with the RSF in 1957 at the Churchill Barracks in Ayr, after enlisting into the Medical Corps the year before.
And after becoming an NCO it was noted he already perfected a powerful parade ground voice.
One contemporary noted: “He operated at a high decibel level with a turn of phrase which today would have caused those with a delicate constitution to seek immediate counselling.”
To Jim McMillan of the Ayr branch of the Royal Scots Fusiliers Old Comrades Association, Major Shaw was legendary.
Jim said: “Major Shaw was the last of the old school soldiers. He did not tolerate fools or rogues gladly.
“Even until recently he would still travel the length and breadth of Britain attending funerals of his ex-members of the Regiment to pay his respects.
“We were fortunate to have him as Honorary President of the Ayr branch. His knowledge of regimental etiquette, attention to detail and his photographic memory made him irreplaceable.
“He had a natural kindness and sympathy and many Fusiliers and their family’s have cause to be grateful to him for the work he did.
“A landmark has been taken away and we shall never see his likes again. But the memory will long remain and be remembered with pride and gratitude.”
Willie Shaw was made an MBE in 1977 for his efforts in tricentenary celebrations of the Royal Highland Fusiliers. He had total dedication to regimental life at home and on battle tours abroad and in Northern Ireland, culminating in 19 years at headquarters.
While at HQ he built up the regimental associations and clubs, making many pilgrimages to battlefields on the Continent for over 25 years.
His retirement bash heard: “Veterans doted on Willie’s every word and he was known as the Fuhrer - the leader.” He was the key driving force behind the creation of the Regimental Museum in Glasgow.
For six months he was on the back of the lucky workmen, cajoling them to finish on time. Then he spent a huge amount of time gathering and conserving the artefacts.
Before his retirement he was immersed in the conversion of the Scottish Infantry battalions to the Royal Regiment of Scotland. And he had a particular interest in looking after 1RHF.
Willie Shaw leaves his wife Hannah and children Martin and Fiona.
Queen’s Man Major Shaw at Buckingham Palace in 1977 with his MBE, wife Hannah and children Martin and Fiona